3 cups brown japanese rice (short grain)
1 packet sazon con azafran
1 tablespoon earth balance butter spread
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3.5 cups water
1 small white onion1 green pepper
1 tablespoon e.v.o.o.
1 can black beans
1 can tomato sauce
1.5 cups black (beluga) lentils (pre-soaked or steamed)
0.5 cup salsa1 cup vegetable stock
1 packet meatless sausage/soy chorizo
2 teaspoons agave syrup
tabasco sauce to taste
salt to taste
lime juice to taste
(opt.) light sour cream or soy cheese as a topping
listening to: juan luis guerra – ojalá que llueva café
i didn’t put much thought into this choice being the first one on the blog. in truth, i’m not that purposeful. it’s a timing thing . . . and a hunger thing, ha!
it just so happens that tonight, i was cooking for a friend of mine who is “veganish”. the best way to describe his diet is to say this — if a life wasn’t taken to provide it, it’s okay to eat. i’m not passionate one way or the other when it comes to eating meat/not eating meat. if it tastes good, i’m there.
i began with the rice:
since this dish is fairly healthy to begin with, i opted for japanese brown rice. i used 3 cups and washed the rice 3 times in lukewarm water. after draining the rice completely, i proceeded to add 3.5 cups of water back into it, along with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 packet of sazon con azafran (most grocery stores carry this in the international foods aisle), and 1 tablespoon of earth balance butter spread. i set my little zojirushi on “quick cook” and went to work on the habichuelas.
i began with 1 small white onion and 1 green pepper. i diced and sauteed them briefly in a tablespoon of e.v.o.o. (i can’t ignore that rachael rayism, sorry). i then dumped an entire can (DO NOT DRAIN) of black beans and a similarly sized can of tomato sauce (not marinara, you chucklehead) over the veggies. after incorporating the two, i put 0.5 cup of salsa (any brand) and 1 cup of veg stock into the pot. finally, i added 1.5 cups of pre-soaked beluga lentils to this mixture. trader joe’s carries some that have also been pre-steamed. that’s some rockstar sh!t . . . try ‘em. i add them to anything they might work with (and might not, but whatever). if you can only find dried lentils, that sucks. i’m kidding (sorta). purists think that you should always buy dried beans/legumes and reconstitute them overnight. sometimes, this is nice, but i hope your stomach appreciates the wait whilst humoring your bean snobbery.
after all these ingredients are incorporated, your pot should look like this:
once it comes to a boil, add the “meat” product. morningstar farms crumbles work well, but i am partial to any soy based fake meat with spice. for this dish, i used soy chorizo. again, this is a trader joe’s advantage. you can also opt out of putting any “meat” into the dish, but i find that it is much heartier with it. yep, i used all of the chorizo.
i am a firm believer in tasting as you go. typically, i add something sweet to anything tomato-based to cut through the tartness. my favorite counterbalance is agave syrup. in this dish, i usually add about 2 teaspoons of it. i then throw in kosher salt to taste, several splashes of tabasco, and a dash of lime juice.
now, we’re up to this:
bring it to a boil and then simmer it on low for at least 20 minutes.
dish out the rice and serve the beans on top with either light sour cream (veg) or soy cheese (vegan).